Ront of the book

childhood abuse, body shame, and Addictive plastic surgery

the face of trauma

A book by Mark B. Constantian, MD, FACS


Childhood Abuse, Body Shame, and Addictive Plastic Surgery explores the psychopathology that plastic surgeons can encounter when seemingly excellent surgical candidates develop body dysmorphic disorder postoperatively. By examining how developmental abuse and neglect influence body image, personality, addictions, resilience, and adult health, this highly readable book uncovers the childhood sources of body dysmorphic disorder. Written from the unique perspective of a leading plastic surgeon with extensive experience in this area and featuring many poignant clinical vignettes and groundbreaking trauma research, this heavily referenced text offers a new explanation for body dysmorphic disorder that provides help for therapists and surgeons and hope for patients.

about the book

Mark B. Constantian, MD, FACS, has practiced plastic surgery in Nashua New Hampshire, since 1978 and has faculty appointment at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Virginia. He is the author of more than 100 professional journal article and book chapters and two previous textbooks, including Rhinoplasty: Craft and Magic.

Mark B. Constantian, MD, FACS

Meet the Author

Dr. Mark Constantian, a brilliant, accomplished surgeon, becomes a modern day Sherlock Holmes to uncover the causes of a grand theft of self-esteem in some patients and the never-ending quest for an illusory body perfection through plastic surgery. Meticulously researched and illustrated with evocative vignettes, readers will enjoy this as much as a suspense thriller. Lagniappe: Readers may recognize the disabilities in people they know. Highly recommended for physicians and patients.  

Donald J. Palmisano, MD, JD, FACS

Dr. Palmisano

Dr. Levine

Dr. Constantian is, in my opinion, spot on in his observations on re-visioning body dysmorphia, which are excellent and long overdue...They are especially exceptional from the point of view of a reconstructive surgeon.

Dr. Peter Levine


Understanding what drives our patients is quintessential. In cosmetic medicine the stakes are higher and motivational algorithms much more complex. In this volume influential plastic surgeon Mark Constantian explores these issues with and - for those of us who fear the abyss - for us. It is a true historical masterpiece, encompassing, almost bottomless and exceptionally original. The magic glue however is Dr. Constantian’s story telling, which makes this volume irresistibly personal and meaningful.

Capi C. Wever, MD

Dr. Wever

Dr. Scaer

I am extremely excited about the opportunities that Dr. Constantian’s innovative, courageous pursuit offers. I have told my colleagues about how we found each other, and how his open-minded response to my books led to his own; I experienced a similar epiphany with Peter Levine’s writings. This is a golden chance to enlighten the lay and medical communities and pave the way for a dramatic break-through in the role of trauma in body dysmorphic disorder.

Robert Scaer, MD

Former President American Medical Association

Clinical Professor of Surgery, Clinical Professor of

Medical Jurisprudence

Tulane University School of Medicine

Author On Leadership and The Little Red Book of Leadership Lessons

author of Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma; In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness; Trauma and Memory: Brain and Body in a Search for the Living Past: A Practical Guide for Understanding and Working with Traumatic Memory; Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body

Author of The Body Bears the Burden, The Trauma Spectrum, and 8 Keys to Brain-Body Balance.

Facial Plastic Surgeon, The Hague

“I am a cutter.” I could feel her starting to close down but I decided to keep pressing, now that the ice had cracked. “That’s very tough,” I said gently. “Usually cutters live in very bad circumstances and have had rough lives.”


Childhood Abuse, Body Shame, and Addictive Plastic Surgery 

The Face of Trauma

” She looked toward the waiting room. “He’ll pay. She nodded as if to congratulate herself.  “I hate him. He could have protected me from my mother.” “So now you are getting even?” She smiled and looked away.  “I always get even.”

“Do you think you are a good teacher?” I said. She lifted her shoulders in a small shrug. “I had a good education.” I did a quick calculation in my head. “That means you’ve had BDD for sixty-five years.”  Something unreadable passed across her face. “There are a lot of ways to die.”